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People of the Philippines vs. M.

G.R. No. L-22301
August 30, 1967
En Banc

The accused was convicted in violation of Sec. 878 in connection to Sec. 2692 of the Revised
Administrative Code as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 56 and further amended by R.A. 4. On
August 13, 1962, the accused was discovered to have in its possession and control a home-made
revolver cal. 22 with no license permit. In the court proceeding, the accused admitted that he owns the
gun and affirmed that it has no license. The accused further stated that he is a secret agent appointed by
Gov. Leviste of Batangas and showed evidences of appointment. In his defense, the accused presented
the case of People vs. Macarandang, stating that he must acquitted because he is a secret agent and
which may qualify into peace officers equivalent to municipal police which is covered by Art. 879.

Whether or not holding a position of secret agent of the Governor is a proper defense to illegal
possession of firearms.

The Supreme Court in its decision affirmed the lower courts decision. It stated that the law is explicit
that except as thereafter specifically allowed, "it shall be unlawful for any person to . . . possess any
firearm, detached parts of firearms or ammunition therefor, or any instrument or implement used or
intended to be used in the manufacture of firearms, parts of firearms, or ammunition." The next section
provides that "firearms and ammunition regularly and lawfully issued to officers, soldiers, sailors, or
marines [of the Armed Forces of the Philippines], the Philippine Constabulary, guards in the employment
of the Bureau of Prisons, municipal police, provincial governors, lieutenant governors, provincial
treasurers, municipal treasurers, municipal mayors, and guards of provincial prisoners and jails," are not
covered "when such firearms are in possession of such officials and public servants for use in the
performance of their official duties.
The Court construed that there is no provision for the secret agent; including it in the list therefore the
accused is not exempted.

Respondent appealed from the judgment of the MTC Batangas finding him guilty of the crime of Illegal
Possession of Firearm and Ammunition he contested the validity of his conviction based on a retroactive
application of the ruling in People v. Mapa.
Respondent was appointed as Secret Agent from the Provincial Governor of Batangas and an
appointment as Confidential Agent from the PC Provincial Commander, and the said appointments
expressly carried with them the authority to possess and carry the firearm in question.
Respondent alleged that at the time of his appointments the prevailing doctrines are Macarandang
and Lucero doctrine.
In Macarandang it was held that"peace officers" are exempted from the requirements relating to
the issuance of license to possess firearms.
While Lucero doctrine provides that the granting of the temporary use of the firearm to the
accused was a necessary means to carry out the lawful purpose of the battalion commander and must
be deemed incident to or necessarily included in the duty and power of said military commander to
effect the capture of a Huk leader.
Respondent and OSG alleged that the decision held in Mapa Case is of no applicability in this case
W/N the appellant should be acquitted on the basis of Our rulings in Macarandang and Lucero, or
should his conviction stand in view of the complete reversal of the Macarandang and Lucero doctrine in
Mapa case?
The SC held that the decision in People v. Mapa reversing the Macarandang and Lucero doctrines
came only in 1967, it has no proper application in this case.
Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal
system in the Philippines.
The doctrine laid down in Lucero and Macarandang was part of the jurisprudence, hence, of the
law, of the land, at the time appellant was found by possession of the firearm in question and when he
was arraigned by the trial court.
It is true that the doctrine was overruled in the Mapa case in 1967, but when a doctrine of this
Court is overruled and a different view is adopted, the new doctrine should be applied prospectively,
and should not apply to parties who had relied on the old doctrine and acted on the faith thereof.

Petitioner incurred no criminal liability at the time of the commission of the crime since the
prevailing doctrine then were the doctrines of Macarandang and Lucero

Perfecto v Meer 85 Phil 552
[G.R. No. L-2348. February 27, 1950.]

In April, 1947 the Collector of Internal Revenue required Mr. Justice Gregorio Perfecto to pay income tax
upon his salary as member of this Court during the year 1946. After paying the amount (P802), he
instituted this action in the Manila Court of First Instance contending that the assessment was illegal, his
salary not being taxable for the reason that imposition of taxes thereon would reduce it in violation of
the Constitution.

Does the imposition of an income tax upon this salary amount to a diminution thereof?

Yes. As in the United States during the second period, we must hold that salaries of judges are not
included in the word "income" taxed by the Income Tax Law. Two paramount circumstances may
additionally be indicated, to wit: First, when the Income Tax Law was first applied to the Philippines
1913, taxable "income" did not include salaries of judicial officers when these are protected from
diminution. That was the prevailing official belief in the United States, which must be deemed to have
been transplanted here ; and second, when the Philippine Constitutional Convention approved (in 1935)
the prohibition against diminution of the judges' compensation, the Federal principle was known that
income tax on judicial salaries really impairs them.

This is not proclaiming a general tax immunity for men on the bench. These pay taxes. Upon buying
gasoline, or cars or other commodities, they pay the corresponding duties. Owning real property, they
pay taxes thereon. And on incomes other than their judicial salary, assessments are levied. It is only
when the tax is charged directly on their salary and the effect of the tax is to diminish their official
stipend that the taxation must be resisted as an infringement of the fundamental charter.

Judges would indeed be hapless guardians of the Constitution if they did not perceive and block
encroachments upon their prerogatives in whatever form. The undiminishable character of judicial
salaries is not a mere privilege of judges personal and therefore waivable but a basic limitation
upon legislative or executive action imposed in the public interest (Evans vs. Gore).

Nitafan v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue [GR L-78780, 23 July 1987]

1. Petitioners David Nitafan, Wenceslao Polo and Maximo Savellano Jr., were duly appointed and
qualified Judges of the RTC National Capital Judicial Region.
2. Petitioners seeks to prohibit and/or perpetually enjoin respondents, (CIR and the Financial Officer of
the Supreme Court) from making any deduction of withholding taxes from their salaries.
3. Petitioners submit that any tax withheld from their emoluments or compensation as judicial officers
constitutes a decreased or diminution of their salaries, contrary to Section 10, Article VIII of the 1987

Is a deduction of withholding tax a diminuition of the salaries of Judges/Justices?

The SC hereby makes of record that it had then discarded the ruling in PERFECTO VS. MEER (88 Phil 552)
and ENDENCIA VS. DAVID (93 Phil 696), that declared the salaries of members of the Judiciary exempt
from payment of the income tax and considered such payment as a diminution of their salaries during
their continuance in office. The Court hereby reiterates that the salaries of Justices and Judges are
property subject to general income tax applicable to all income earners and that the payment of such
income tax by Justices and Judges does not fall within the constitution protection against decrease of
their salaries during their continuance in office.

The debates, interpellations and opinions expressed regarding the constitutional provision in question
until it was finally approved by the Commission disclosed that the true intent of the framers of the 1987
Constitution, in adopting it, was to make the salaries of members of the Judiciary taxable. The
ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental principle of constitutional
construction that the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it should be
given effect.

The ruling that the imposition of income tax upon the salary of judges is a diminution thereof, and so
violates the Constitution in Perfecto vs. Meer, as affirmed in Endencia vs. David must be deemed

G.R. No. L-6355-56
August 31, 1953

Saturnino David, then Collector of Internal Revenue, ordered the taxing of Justice Pastor Endencias and
Justice Fernando Jugos salary pursuant to Sec 13 of RA 590 which provides that SEC. 13. No salary
wherever received by any public officer of the Republic of the Philippines shall be considered as exempt
from the income tax, payment of which is hereby declared not to be a diminution of his compensation
fixed by the Constitution or by law. According to the brief of the Solicitor General on behalf of appellant
Collector of Internal Revenue, the decision in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer, supra, was not received
favorably by Congress, because immediately after its promulgation, Congress enacted Republic Act No.
590. To bring home his point, the Solicitor General reproduces what he considers the pertinent
discussion in the Lower House of House Bill No. 1127 which became Republic Act No. 590.

Does the imposition of an income tax upon the salaries of Justice Endencia and Justice Jugo and other
members of the Supreme Court and all judges of inferior courts amount to a diminution? Is Section 13 of
Republic Act No. 590 constitutional?

Ratio Decidendi
On the issue of imposition of income tax upon the salaries of the judges, in a rather exhaustive and well
considered decision found and held under the doctrine laid down by the court in the case of Perfecto vs.
Meer, 85 Phil 552, Judge Higinio B. Macadaeg held that the collection of income taxes from the salaries
of Justice Jugo and Justice Endencia was in violation of the Constitution of the Philippines, and so
ordered the refund of said taxes. On the issue of whether Section 13 of Republic Act No. 590 is
constitutional, the court believes that this is a clear example of interpretation or ascertainment of the
meaning of the phrase which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office, found in
section 9, Article VIII of the Constitution, referring to the salaries of judicial officers. By legislative fiat as
enunciated in section 13, Republic Act No. 590, Congress says that taxing the salary of a judicial officer is
not a decrease of compensation. This act of interpreting the Constitution or any part thereof by the
Legislature is an invasion of the well-defined and established province and jurisdiction of the Judiciary.
The rule is recognized elsewhere that the legislature cannot pass any declaratory act, or act declaratory
of what the law was before its passage, so as to give it any binding weight with the courts. A legislative
definition of a word as used in a statute is not conclusive of its meaning as used elsewhere; otherwise,
the legislature would be usurping a judicial function in defining a term. The court reiterates the doctrine
laid down in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer, supra, to the effect that the collection of income tax on the
salary of a judicial officer is a diminution thereof and so violates the Constitution. Further, the court
holds that the interpretation and application of the Constitution and of statutes is within the exclusive
province and jurisdiction of the judicial department, and that in enacting a law, the Legislature may not
legally provide therein that it be interpreted in such a way that it may not violate a Constitutional
prohibition, thereby tying the hands of the courts in their task of later interpreting said statute,
especially when the interpretation sought and provided in said statute runs counter to a previous
interpretation already given in a case by the highest court of the land. Thus the court holds that
judgment is affirmed, that Section 13, Republic Act 590 in so far as it provides that taxing of the salary of
a judicial officer shall be considered not to be a diminution of his compensation fixed by the
Constitution or by law, constitutes and invasion of the province and jurisdiction of the judiciary. In this
sense, the court is of the opinion that said section is null and void, it being a transgression of the
fundamental principles underlying the separation of powers. In the light of the issue on imposing
income tax on judges salaries, dissenting opinion of court cited that judges are also citizens and thus
their salaries are subjected to the Income Tax Law prevailing. The debates, interpellations and opinions
expressed regarding the constitutional provision in question until it was finally approved by the
Commission disclosed that the true intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, in adopting it, was to
make the salaries of members of the Judiciary taxable. The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping
with the fundamental principle of constitutional construction that the intent of the framers of the
organic law and of the people adopting it should be given effect. Hence, court affirms judgment as in
Perfecto vs. Meer on the issue of imposing income tax on judges salaries.

G.R. No. 148560, November 19, 2001
Petitioner Joseph Estrada prosecuted An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder,
wishes to impress upon the Court that the assailed law is so defectively fashioned that it
crosses that thin but distinct line which divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm. His
contentions are mainly based on the effects of the said law that it suffers from the vice of
vagueness; it dispenses with the "reasonable doubt" standard in criminal prosecutions; and it
abolishes the element of mens rea in crimes already punishable under The Revised Penal Code
saying that it violates the fundamental rights of the accused.
The focal point of the case is the alleged vagueness of the law in the terms it uses.
Particularly, this terms are: combination, series and unwarranted. Because of this, the petitioner
uses the facial challenge on the validity of the mentioned law.
Whether or not the petitioner possesses the locus standi to attack the validity of the law using
the facial challenge.

On how the law uses the terms combination and series does not constitute vagueness. The
petitioners contention that it would not give a fair warning and sufficient notice of what the law
seeks to penalize cannot be plausibly argued. Void-for-vagueness doctrine is manifestly
misplaced under the petitioners reliance since ordinary intelligence can understand what
conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only be invoked against that specie of legislation that
is utterly vague on its face, wherein clarification by a saving clause or construction cannot be
invoked. Said doctrine may not invoked in this case since the statute is clear and free from
ambiguity. Vagueness doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute
to be upheld, not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude.
On the other hand, overbreadth doctrine decrees that governmental purpose may not be
achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of
protected freedoms.
Doctrine of strict scrutiny holds that a facial challenge is allowed to be made to vague statute
and to one which is overbroad because of possible chilling effect upon protected speech.
Furthermore, in the area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free
speech. A facial challenge to legislative acts is the most difficult challenge to mount successfully
since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists.
Doctrines mentioned are analytical tools developed for facial challenge of a statute in free
speech cases. With respect to such statue, the established rule is that one to who application of
a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it
might also be taken as applying to other persons or other situations in which its application
might be unconstitutional. On its face invalidation of statues results in striking them down
entirely on the ground that they might be applied to parties not before the Court whose activities
are constitutionally protected. It is evident that the purported ambiguity of the Plunder Law is
more imagined than real.
The crime of plunder as a malum in se is deemed to have been resolve in the Congress
decision to include it among the heinous crime punishable by reclusion perpetua to death.
Supreme Court holds the plunder law constitutional and petition is dismissed for lacking merit.